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Repetition is the key to success
By Bobby Bowden
Special to

Bobby Bowden and family are at Troy State University in Troy, Ala., this week, running the 15th Annual Bowden Academy for quarterbacks and receivers. Bobby runs the camp with his sons Steve, Tommy, Terry and Jeff and son-in-law Jack. He is writing a daily diary for as he prepares for his 25th season at Florida State.

Monday, June 18, 2001
Monday was our first full day of camp. We were on the field two hours in the morning, two hours in the afternoon and an hour and a half at night. Position meetings with quarterbacks and receivers were sandwiched in between. If you wanted to go swimming or play badminton, you should have gone to a different camp.

Peyton Manning
Peyton Manning is one of the many QBs to pass through the Bowden Academy.
Football is a game of repetition, and repetition is hard work. We teach these young men to practice the same things over and over again until they become habits. You win games with good habits.

The secret of being a good football player is the ability to do something correctly out of habit. If I had to choose between good habits or great enthusiasm in a big ballgame, I'd choose good habits every time.

This morning, we worked on the short passing game, specifically hitches and slant routes. These are timing routes that must be thrown on rhythm. On a hitch pattern, the receiver takes five steps and turns around for the ball. The QB takes three steps and throws the ball. The ball is in the air before the receiver even turns his head around. The pattern is all about rhythm and timing -- and a ton of repetition.

A lot of great quarterbacks have come through this camp. And they all had one thing in common besides talent -- namely, they were willing to pay the price. They worked incredibly hard. We've had Peyton Manning, Tim Couch, Jay Barker, Thad Busby, Major Applewhite and Doug Johnson, just to name a few. These guys all went on to be great college players and several became first-round NFL draft choices.

One of my favorite QBs was Ben Wiggins. He was not quite talented enough to get a Division I-A scholarship, but Terry went on to sign him at I-AA Samford University, where Wiggins eventually led the Bulldogs to a 12-2 season and to the Division I-AA national semifinals. As much as we might wish otherwise, not all these QBs and WRs are going to be Division I college players. Our primary goal is just to make them better high school quarterbacks and receivers.

The school cafeteria serves great food. My sons and I sit around over meals joking with one another and talking football. Of course, Tommy and I guard our comments carefully. Since we play each other this fall, neither of us wants the other to know too much about our plans. And with Terry sitting there, we must be extra careful. Anything we say might end up on network television!

The folks at Troy State run a first class operation. It's a great place to run a camp. The facilities are good and there aren't a lot of places for a kid to get in trouble. The key link is a guy named Sohail Agboatwalla (pronounced as ... well, take your best shot!). He makes sure everything runs smoothly around here.

As I lied in bed tonight, I could hear the music coming from behind the players' doors -- country, rap, hip-hop. I don't discriminate of course because I don't like any of it. I can still remember when I was 16 years old and went to summer camp in Tuscaloosa, Ala., back in 1945. I used to lay in bed and listen to my favorite music, too. Guys like Glenn Miller, Tommy Dorsey, and The Ink Spots. I don't suppose these kids would like my music very much either.

Pardon me boys, is that the Chattanooga Choo Choo ?

Bobby Bowden Q&A

Camp diaries: Getting started at the Bowden Academy

Camp diaries: It's all in the footwork

Camp diaries: A day of rest

Camp diaries: Bowden Ball

Camp diaries: Important lessons

Tommy Bowden Q&A